For the 700th issue of Batman, on sale today, writer Grant Morrison declines to go for a huge, all-encompassing new history of the character, or for a game-changing redefining of the Caped Crusader. Instead, he’s written an enthralling three-part mystery for Batman (and you) to solve. Entitled “Time and The Batman,” it carries the subtitle, “One Impossible Crime: Can You Crack the Case?”

Of course, Morrison being the prolix, playful Morrison he is, the author plays with time, dividing the tale into three parts, with three different Batmen from three different time periods: the Bruce Wayne Batman in the opening chapter, “Yesterday”; the Dick Grayson Batman in “Today”; and Damian Wayne’s Batman in “Tomorrow.”

First-rate artists have been enlisted, including Tony Daniel, Andy Kubert, David Finch, and (my favorite) Frank Quitely, he of the spidery line-drawings and and tight-lipped-smiling Batman. There’s one especially classic panel: After Batman beats off a throng of thugs with a pair of thin, hard sticks (bats?) pulled from his utility belt, the hero looks around at the unconscious criminals, then at the mini-clubs he holds in his hands and says to Robin, “Remind me to pack these again. Wow.”

Robin’s reply: “More of them.”

Love that. A-